I’ve written here many times before as a dangerous drug attorney about the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone). A relative of the now-discredited drug Avandia, Actos has been investigated for some of the same cardiovascular safety flaws Avandia has. However, the most recent research on Actos side effects has identified a different safety flaw: an increased risk of bladder cancer. Studies showing the elevated risk led to withdrawals from the market last year in France and Germany, but no move to take it off the U.S. market. Numerous patients across the U.S. have filed lawsuits, alleging Actos caused their cancer. As the Associated Press reported Feb. 14, those lawsuits have been consolidated in Louisiana federal court, and the first hearing in that case will be held in late March.
Actos is made by drug company Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a Japanese company whose American branch is based in Illinois. Legal observers expect Takeda to face several thousand claims overall that Actos harmed plaintiffs by causing bladder cancer. The FDA’s most recent safety announcements about Actos came in August of 2011, when it announced a black box warning — the most serious warning the FDA has — about the increased risk of bladder cancer. That followed a June announcement that an ongoing study showed the risk increased for patients who have been taking Actos the longest and at the highest doses. This came shortly after a French study found an increased risk of bladder cancer, which also correlated with increased exposure and increased dosage. This led to the French and German withdrawals. In fact, studies dating back before the drug was approved have found an association between Actos and bladder cancer, though the FDA did not start issuing warnings until 2010.
As a defective drug lawyer, I’m disappointed that it took so long for the FDA to issue safety warnings on Actos and bladder cancer. Part of this was because the bladder cancer findings announced in 2010 and 2011 came from a long-term, ten-year study. But those findings echoed findings from animal studies conducted earlier, suggesting that researchers already had some idea of what they might find. It’s easy to see why people who believe Actos caused their cancer, or their loved ones’ cancer, might have preferred a quicker announcement or at least more complete information. Now, Actos has finished its patent, meaning it’s at the end of its profitability for Takeda anyway. All those victims can pursue lawsuits, and many have or will — but it’s likely that none of them would rather have money than their health or their loved ones’ health.
Based in St. Louis, Carey, Danis & Lowe represents clients across the United States who are seeking justice and financial compensation for the harm done by dangerous prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Very often, these are drugs like Actos, that are wildly profitable and new, but have significant red flags for safety that are later confirmed by independent studies. When taking a prescription drug hurts patients instead of making them feel better — and especially when the drug maker knew or should have known about it — patients can and should hold the drug maker legally responsible for the results. Our pharmaceutical liability attorneys help patients recover damages for their disease and serious physical injury as well as lost income, increased medical costs and in many cases, lost quality of life.
If you or someone in your family suffered a serious injury because of Actos or any other prescription drug, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe. For a free consultation or to learn more about your rights, you can reach us online or call 1-877-678-3400 toll-free.
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